HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Over in a River: Flowing Out to the Sea
Author: Marianne Berkes
Illustrator: Jill Dubin
Publisher: Dawn Publications, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1584693291 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1584693290 (Hardcover)
Related websites: http://www.MarianeBerkes.com (author), http://www.JillDubin.com (illustrator), http://www.dawnpub.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 3-8
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Berkes, Marianne. Over in a River: Flowing Out to the Sea (published in 2013 by Dawn Publications, 12402 Bitney Springs Rd., Nevada City, CA 95959). .Have you ever seen a real, live manatee? Do you even know what it is? Over in the St. John River of Florida “Where the warm waters run Lived a mother manatee And her little calf one.” Manatees are marine mammals which live in the ocean but paddle into warmer rivers when the ocean temperature drops below 65 degrees. Other kinds of animals live in, on, above, or around the great rivers of North America, like blue herons in the Hudson, salmon in the Columbia, dragonflies in the Rio Grande, and mallards in the St. Lawrence. Author Marianne Berkes discusses ten different types of such animals following the same pattern of the children’s folk song “Over in a Meadow” that she used in her five previous books in this series, Over in Australia, Over in the Forest, Over in the Jungle, Over in the Ocean, and Over in the Arctic, the first four of which have been previously reviewed here. Do you know where otters live, what their babies are called, and what they like to do?
Not only is the book educational but it also holds children’s attention well with its interactive features. In addition to illustrator Jill Dubin’s colorful cut-paper pictures enhanced with colored pencils and pastels which show the animals in their natural habitats near or on the river, each page names the animal with a map of where it lives, identifies the name of the animal’s babies, and tells what the animals do. There is the added benefit of reinforcing counting from one to ten. And each picture contains a hidden animal for the child to find. Furthermore, the back pages contain more information about the rivers and the animals, along with tips from both the author and the illustrator. Under “Fact or Fiction?”, Berkes writes, “The animals in this story behave as they have been portrayed—muskrats squeal, manatees paddle, and dragonflies whirl. That’s a fact! But do they have the number of babies as in this rhyme? No, that is fiction!” Science, math, reading, and geography all in one fun book—what more could one ask for?